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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Trading the King: What A-list deals bring

By Christina Kahrl

Where Felix Hernandez is concerned, it’s easy to ditch hope and faith and start demanding the Mariners get down to business and resolve what their King’s ransom is. Jim Caple responded to those calling for Seattle to trade its ace by suggesting its time everyone stops treating the bad clubs like they're farm systems for the rich teams. Plus, those who think Seattle is better off trading Hernandez might want to be careful what they wish for. Consider the packages received from this short, non-comprehensive list of A-list exchanges from the last decade:

2010
2009
2008
2005
2003
2002



The good news for the Mariners is how Hernandez is not like these others: He's under contractual control through 2014, so he’s not a rental, and at the age of 25, these next four seasons should be prime campaigns worthy of a real premium. His $58 million salary for 2012-2014 might seem like a deterrent to getting a deal done, but that’s still below the coin it would have taken to buy a King on the open market in any of the recent starter-starved pools of free agents.

If anything, to get a sense of what Hernandez might bring in a deal, you might want to compare the King’s value to that of Matt Garza. The Cubs traded a five-player package of worthwhile prospects to the Rays to acquire three seasons of a talented pitcher in the middle of his career. That’s what Jack Zduriencik would have to use as his measure, because if history’s any guide, the M’s GM shouldn’t be interested in moving his ace, just to move the expense of employing him.

Christina Kahrl covers baseball for ESPN.com. You can follow her on Twitter.